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Andy C - Andy C, Andy Do

Author: Switch
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Drum n bass may be perceived as a separatist dance movement, like techno before it and, more so, psy-trance, yet Andy C is reaching a wider demographic, as Switch suggests.

He’s an emissary for a music that, though indigenous to the UK, has become increasingly global – and multifaceted. But, as he contemplates his return down under with MC GQ, Andy C hasn’t forgotten that, in the end, it’s about the party.

“I’m just a guy who is lucky enough to get flown around the world and to play the music that I love to people who wanna hear it, so that’s my role,” he says. “And I have a bloody good time doing it.”

The Brit DJ/producer has journeyed far since messing with a drum kit as a kid.
Andrew Clarke was exposed to the nascent dance music by his older sister – and she even accompanied the 13-year-old to his first rave.  The Essex native decided that he wanted to DJ. He secured a slot on a local pirate station and was soon playing clubs. To this day, Andy, an ol’ skooler, sticks to vinyl and, importantly dubplates, resisting the software revolution.

Inevitably, Andy explored production, forming an enduring partnership with sound engineer Ant Miles. He launched Ram Records with the Sour Mash EP. However, it was with Origin Unknown’s Valley Of The Shadows that Andy put his stamp on the surging drum n bass.  Andy later conceived Ram Trilogy with Ant and Shimon, while in 2001 he and Shimon unleashed the surprise chart smash Bodyrock. Andy admits that drum n bass hasn’t spawned a crossover hit in a spell but, despite that lack of media hype, the subculture is flourishing.

“In the mid-’90s it blew up and had media attention on it. It was the new ‘cool’ thing,” he says. “It had that whole phase where you’d get all the trendies down the clubs and all the people who didn’t really know what they were talking about getting into it and the media latching on – which, in one way, is good for the promotion, but, in another way, when they’re onto the ‘next big thing’ and they drop it like a stone, it’s a bit annoying.

“But, fortunately for us, drum n bass is a separatist kind of scene. The scene is born out of such a small part of the UK and it’s blown up into this worldwide thing and it’s totally self-sustained.”

Andy believes that this self-dependence, in tandem with communal support, underlies the music’s longevity.

“A lot of scenes grow off the back of media attention and they then come to rely on it,” he says. “Maybe the money that’s put into those scenes is born out of that attention and, when that attention goes, then the scene suffers. But we haven’t really ever suffered from any problems like that.”

Andy is pleased that drum n bass is no longer “UK-centric”, but a “big melting pot”, giving props to Australia’s Pendulum.

“In my record box I’ve got dubs from all ’round the world that are featuring in part of my set.”

In 2007 the DJ celebrated Ram’s 15th anniversary. He was voted the world’s top junglist in DJ magazine’s influential poll. Andy also completed a covermount CD, Drum N Bass Babylon, for Mixmag, the publication, which has recently neglected drum n bass, finally recognising the extent of its underground following.

Next Andy will present the latest instalment in his Nightlife compilation series. And, while Andy raves about new Ram recruit Culture Shock, he intends to cut more drum n bass himself in 2008.

“It feels like ages since I was last in the studio – and I really do miss it.”

WHO: Andy C
WHAT: Fracture Factory Presents Andy C and MC GQ at Home
WHEN: Thursday 24 January